Monday, June 27, 2011

Marmot Halo 6

One of the questions I've been asked is "why are you changing from your hammocks to a tent"?  First, after ten years of camping in my Clark Jungle Hammock (, the last four with my son in his as well, I tried wholeheartedly to convince the wife that she would be happiest either in a Clark or a Hennessy Hammock (  I failed.  She keeps calling it a "bear burrito".  She also said my Black Diamond Beta Bug tent was for "exhibitionists".  So, after a bit of research, we settled on the Marmot Halo 6 for a family of three. 

Once the dining room furniture was sold, I had to set it up inside to see how it went together.  The Marmot goes from this diminutive 20 pound stuff sack:

 to this room-swallowing monster quickly and easily even with only one mildly intoxicated person wrangling it:

We picked the Marmot for it's peak height of 75 inches - quite a change from my hammock with a "peak height" of about 24 inches, and the fact that it has a slightly greater thickness of polyurethane on the fly (polyester with 1800mm PU) and the floor (nylon with 3000mm PU) than the other brands we looked at.  This is our first foray into tent camping since our son got comfortable sleeping alone in his hammock in 2007, so I will keep updating our experience as we go, and put up some real pix as soon as we get it set up in a real camping spot.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


In 2007, we started building a house in the mountains in Panamá.  We had fallen in love with the cool climate, the fantastic food, and the fresh fruit and vegetables; and we were looking for a challenge.  It was pretty obvious that easy credit, plutocracy (or corporate fascism, pick your favorite label),  welfare and social security, and looming demographic change were going to erode quality of life in the U.S.A. for years to come.  We didn't expect things to go bad as suddenly and violently as they did in 2008, but we managed to stay out of harm's way and keep working towards our goal.  The house in Montañas de Caldera in Panamá was completed in 2009.  We've had a friend staying there since, and by all reports, we've got a great, functional house in a beautiful location with excellent neighbors.

Now we're ready to head south, but instead of going directly, we're hitting the road to see all of the great natural wonders of America first.  We'll do a lot of camping, try and eat well, put a lot of miles on the truck, and hopefully have a great time!

It's funny what you learn when you start selling your household.  Royalex canoes increase in value.  Palm Casuals PVC patio furniture holds its own in resale after a decade - I still think I let our set go way too cheap.  Cars are liquid, and Jeeps have a huge community but not so many buyers.  Quality furniture and treadmills - I feel lucky to get about 10-20% of what we paid for them.  Of course, I'm likely a seller at the absolute low point on these last few possessions, since we live in what Forbes called one of "America's Emptiest Cities" for 2011!

The good news is that we've managed to sell almost everything over the last couple of months, and we're ready to make the move in mid-July.  First stop, Virginia to see family and drop off the cat, then we head back to Florida, load up, and head west!  We hope to see Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Sierra National Forest, Lake Tahoe / DL Bliss State Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Salt Point State Park, Death Valley, the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and everything in between.  If we fulfill our commitment to this blog, we'll take you along for the fun and the food!  

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